Passover Learning and Action

Resources for individuals and Jewish groups to pursue, before, during, and following Passover to spur attention within Jewish communities to the needs of incarcerated Jews and those around them in Canadian and US carceral systems.

Download Ha Lachma Anya: A Passover Call from Matir Asurim.

Share this link to further conversations and learning in this season of liberation.

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Ha Lachma Anya Introduction, Overview 1

The Declaration background and intentions 5

The Invitation / Action Suggestions 9 / 14

Language of Exile, Access / Action Suggestions 10 / 16

Now We Are Slaves / Action Suggestions 12 / 17

Inside Members’ Words 25

Text Reflection: Assigned Neighbors and Exacting Poverty 27

Bibliography 32

Learning/Action Plans back cover


This bread…Now we are slaves” and Jewish Care for Incarcerated People —


…calls us to imagine the long chain of matzah-eating Jews before us, including incarcerated Jews, past and present.

calls us to consider the needs of incarcerated Jews, and the complicated issues of poverty, oppression, and narration involved.

…calls us to sit with the tension between the need for immediate rescue and the need to build lasting relationships and long-term change in work around incarceration and beyond.

…calls us to recognize incarceration as one reality in the “world as it truly is,” to consider what responsibilities and visions that recognition invokes.

residential door opens to show a stylized figure behind bars just beyond the threshhold
Opening the door this Passover


. ..calls Jews outside to provide for the physical and spiritual needs of those on the inside (if possible, before launching our own celebrations). But needs persist, so it’s never a bad time to begin addressing them.


..calls Jews outside to consider our history with various everyday languages, like Aramaic, and Hebrew, the language of sacred text and prayer, and to reflect more widely on our language choices, surveillance, and the interaction of the two.

. ..calls Jews to examine what is available, from their own and other movements and educational organizations, to Jews inside and what assumptions — about who is a Jew and what a Jew does — are made.

…calls Jews to build connections and mutuality.


. ..reminds us that human trafficking worldwide, “incentive
pay” of pennies per hour in Canada, and the “exception clause”
to involuntary servitude in the U.S. mean that, in very real ways:
Now we are slaves. Next year, we will be free.

…reminds us that incarceration creates hunger,
all sorts of need, and disconnection from home
and calls us to respond, for those still inside and
for those engaged in re-entry/reintegration.

chain held between two hands is ripped apart
….next year, free!

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